Former US Vice President Joe Biden says white Americans must acknowledge that “systemic racism” still exists and must be rooted out, as the country marked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday honoring the 90th birthday anniversary of the African American civil rights leader.
"The bottom line is we have a lot to root out, but most of all the systematic racism that most of us whites don't like to acknowledge even exists," Biden said Monday during a speech at the National Action Network in Washington, DC.
Biden said the racism is so rooted in society that it is difficult for some people to acknowledge it.
"We don't even consciously acknowledge it. But it's been built into every aspect of our system," Biden added.
Biden, who served as vice president during the administration of former President Barack Obama, cited some examples of institutionalized racism in US society.
"Because when your schools are substandard, when your houses are undervalued, when your car insurance costs more for no apparent reason, when poverty rates for black Americans is still twice that of white Americans, ... there's something we have to admit. Not you -- we -- White America has to admit there's a still a systematic racism," he said.
Biden ended his speech by expressing hope for positive changes in the future. Don't tell me, don't tell me things can't change."
Biden, 76, is considered running as a Democratic Party candidate in the 2020 presidential election against Republican President Donald Trump.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another speaker at the event, emphasized that Democrats like Biden and himself were now focused on winning back the presidency.
"Whatever the next year brings for Joe and me and I know we'll both keep our eyes on the real prize, and that is electing a Democrat to the White House in 2020,” he said.
Bloomberg insisted their mission will be "getting our country back on track."